Numerous sportsmen and professional bass fishing guides joined forces with the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation (WWIA) www.wwiaf.org to sponsor an outstanding bass fishing trip on Rodman Reservoir during the weekend of Feb. 5 – 6, 2011. The event was an outstanding success, with 60 bass caught over a day and a half of fishing. Lt. Col. (Ret.) John McDaniel, founder and CEO of the WWIA, summed up the weekend’s activities with just a few words, “Awesome time, awesome fishing, and awesome folks!”
One may ask, what made it a success? It was the guides, fishermen and neighbors that came together to show their respect for a few of those individuals who were wounded in combat when our country called upon them to protect us here at home. It’s too easy nowadays to go through our daily routines and not think about those who are in harm’s way to protect our way of life.
The wounded warriors participating were Hubble Hainline from Athens, AL, Jake Whipkey from Boswell, PA and Storm Litzler from Cape Coral, FL.
The WWIA sponsored the event, and United Sportsmen and Airboaters Alliance (USAA) member Charlie Lawson and his wife Jackie, hosted the event at their home in Orange Springs, FL. Several other USAA members generously gave their time and resources to make this weekend special for our heroes. Other USAA members included Brian Gotcher, who assisted Jackie with breakfast and was the chef during the 2 days of delicious cookouts, Allen “Cajun” Perry, one of the bass guides, and Jerry Wetherington, president of the USAA, who arranged for a cookout to be provided Sunday afternoon.
Over the weekend the alarm clock started Jackie and Brian’s day at 4:00 AM in order to have breakfast ready by 5:00 AM. By 5:15, 16 people were enjoying coffee, sausage, eggs, biscuits and gravy. By 6:00 AM everyone was on their way to get wild shiners for a day of fishing.
Wounded Warrior Hubble Hainline caught the largest bass weighing 9.5 pounds. Hubble and Wounded Warrior Storm Litzler were fishing with professional guide Sean Rush. Between the two of them they caught 22 bass that first day, several between 6 and 9.5 pounds. Wounded Warrior Jake Whipkey managed to catch 9 nice bass that first day while being guided by Bill Snyder. The second half day of fishing wasn’t as active, and just as the bass were starting to show an interest, the half day of fishing came to an end. However, 16 bass were caught that Sunday morning.
After fishing on Saturday, the troops returned to Charlie’s house where Brian had prepared some outstanding venison chili. Brian also furnished fresh oysters. Afterwards everyone enjoyed a bonfire and a few refreshments. There was also a cookout on Sunday after that morning’s fishing trip. Honored guest World War II Purple Heart recipient Donn Snow joined the cookout Sunday afternoon.
A special thanks is extended to the following guides and fishermen who volunteered their time and equipment; Sean Rush, Bill Snyder, Allen “Cajun” Perry, Rick Hefner, and Al Robinson.
Several other individuals participated in the event in support of our wounded heroes, they included; WWIA Associate Brad Boisen and his son Drew, special guest Dr. M. T. Mortor, Jr., WWIA Associate Duane Wallace and his daughter Madison, and USAA members Austin Gotcher, Cheryl Wetherington and Tom Gotcher.
Established in 2007, the Wounded Warriors in Action foundation is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in Apollo Beach Florida. Its mission is to aid in healing the hearts and minds of our Nation’s combat wounded heroes (Purple Heart recipients) from OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM. The WWIA provides to wounded veterans world-class outdoor sporting activities, chiefly consisting of participation in hunting and fishing retreats all across America. Interested individuals can contact John McDaniel, Founder and CEO at firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free 1-888-308-WWIA (9942).